What are the Types of Cycling Events at Tokyo Olympics 2021?

Published 06/22/2021, 1:18 PM EDT

The 2021 Tokyo Olympics are almost upon us. The world’s biggest sporting spectacle, which was postponed in 2020 due to the outbreak of COVID-19, is all set to enthrall fans across the globe. And among the big events to keep an eye out for are those falling under the umbrella of cycling.

Cycling has long been a part of the Olympic calendar. The sport has been a regular feature ever since the birth of the modern Olympic movement back in 1896.

From a sport with just five events under its banner during its inception, cycling has branched its roots into five separate disciplines to encompass 22 events at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.


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But what exactly are these five different cycling disciplines? Look no further for the answer you seek.

Road cycling

The oldest vertical among the sport of cycling, the discipline has been part of the Olympic program since 1896. There are currently two types of events under this discipline, namely – road race and time trial.

As the name suggests, both events will take place on street circuits. The goal for both is the same, set the fastest time to win Gold. In the road race, a mass of riders start together to cover a 151.6 mile circuit, while women compete over 91.3-miles.

For the time trial, riders set off at intervals ranging between a minute to two. As an added bonus, this year’s road cycling events will feature the picturesque Mount Fuji in the backdrop.

Track cycling

Unlike road cycling, track cycling will take place indoors on a velodrome. This discipline has five events under its banner, namely: the Keirin, Madison, Omnium, Team pursuit, Individual sprints, and Team sprint.

(Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil)

The women’s Madison event will be making its debut at the 2021 Summer Olympics, while the men’s event will be making its return for the first time since the 2008 Olympic Games held in Beijing.


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Mountain biking

Making its debut at the 1996 Atlanta Games, Mountain biking is a relatively newer discipline when compared to track cycling and road racing.

There are several sub-sections under the discipline but the one to feature at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics is cross-country. The races will be held on a 2.5-mile course and will require the athletes to maneuver through forest roads and rocky pathways.

37 riders will line up according to their current world ranking. The riders will undertake multiple laps of the course as riders slower than the race leader are eliminated with each lap.

BMX racing

A sprint sport by nature, BMX racing is a high-octane, action-packed event one wouldn’t want to miss. 24 athletes in both men’s and women’s races compete in groups of eight on an off-road circuit measuring roughly 400 meters long.

The Top-4 riders from each race advance based on their rankings. This is done based on time and points gathered through the race. Gaining an early lead plays a major role in advancing as the short nature of the race allows the athlete to block opposing riders.


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BMX freestyle

The newest entrant to the world of Olympic cycling, BMX freestyle makes its debut at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Riders go out to put on their best runs over a span of two minutes where they execute a series of tricks that require tremendous expertise.


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Various obstacles are set up within a BMX park, which includes the likes of walls and box jumps. The athletes are judged by a panel based on their originality, difficulty, and style.



Shivayan Roy

1068 articles

Shivayan Roy is currently an NFL writer at EssentiallySports. After completing his Masters Diploma in Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Roy functioned as a reporter for Goal.com and extensively covered the FIFA U-17 World Cup.